Can there be a viable third party option in the United States? Although there have been many complaints over the two-party system, a new poll suggested that the support for a third-party has dropped in recent years from 58 percent in 2007 to 46 percent this election cycle.
A lot of political analysts this year argue that in the next four years a prominent third party could become a reality in the political sphere. However, other longtime politicos have their doubts and explain that the two-party system is so biased that a third party candidate would never get anywhere.
In the U.S., there are more than two dozen minor political parties, but only three have gained momentum in recent years and could be the party to have a legitimate shot at gaining a seat in Congress, Senate or possibly even the White House: the Libertarian Party, the Constitution Party and the Green Party.
Whether people like it or not, retiring Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul has put the libertarian philosophy in the mainstream. Prior to the 2008 presidential election, a lot of people viewed libertarianism as a fringe ideology, but there are still some in both the Democratic and Republican Parties who see it exactly as that.
The American people had been told that they had two choices in November: President Barack Obama (D) or former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R). Even in most polls, the electorate is usually given just one D and one R. One name, though, had gained momentum, even though he may not have had a real shot at the White House.
Former New Mexico Governor and successful businessman Gary Johnson led the Libertarian Party last year. Most polls had him at about four percent, but in some states he did play a bit of spoiler, at least that’s how the mainstream media portrayed his bid for the White House.
Instead of saying that his party had been gaining support, the networks said Johnson was the Ralph Nader of the 2012 presidential election, but moreso for the Republican presidential candidate than the incumbent president.
Since the 1988 presidential election where Ron Paul and Andre Marrou were the Libertarian nominees, the party has kept increasing its support. In that year, it generated more than 430,000 votes, but it dropped significantly in 1992 when it garnered about 290,000 votes. However, in each election cycle after that the party’s base has grown: 485,759 (1996), 384,431 (2000), 397,265 (2004) and 523,713 (2008).
With Johnson as well as Jim Gray holding dozens of online town hall meetings, speaking on various news media outlets and Paul supporters looking for someone that could represent their political stances and values.
As the establishment part of the Republican Party attempts to isolate the libertarian wing of the party, those individuals will look for an alternative option and the Libertarian Party could be that preference, but only if it can make significant gains this year.
The Constitution Party was only able to get less than 200,000 votes in 2008 and the Green Party, which made headline news when it was announced that Roseanne Barr was seeking the party’s nomination, garnered a little more than 160,000 votes. The two political groups have not made as many gains as the Libertarian Party has in recent years.